New hydro policy to help meet renewables target
18, Mar 2019
Prelims level : Energy Infra Mains level : GS - III
Government’s decision to re-classify large hydroelectric projects as renewable energy will certainly help the energy sector, the move will also go a long way in meeting the targets set by it for the sector.
Renewable Energy Scenario in India:
- Total installed capacity of wind power stood at 33 GW
- Solar was the second major segment with cumulative capacity of 17 GW.
- Bio-power occupied the third position with a total installed capacity of 4,551 MW
Targets set by Government:
- 40 GW rooftop solar by 2022
- 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022
- 100 GW od Solar Energy by 2022
Challenges with renewable energy:
- Weather depend: both solar and wind sources are weather dependent; many times weather does not cooperate such as overcast sky, storms etc.; ensuring steady power supplies in such cases is difficult.
- Grid harmony: keeping power from different renewable sources in harmony over the grid is also difficult; especially in context of intermittent power flows from such sources.
- Land acquisition: sources such as wind & solar both require large land area to ensure large scale generation; difficult to obtain in agrarian countries like India.
- Poor battery efficiency: Proposal to utilize batteries to meet peaks loads during evening & mornings is marred by poor battery efficiencies.
- High capital cost: High initial cost of investment & technology expertise in harnessing sources such as wind, tidal, geo-thermal etc. is unavailable with most of the countries.
What does Economic Survey say?
- Economic Survey of 2017 indicated that the social cost of renewables to be three times that of coal, at around Rs11 per kilowatt-hour
- One MW of solar plant requires 5 acres of land, whose cost is loaded on to the power cost.
- Secondly, Indian industry is already suffering the disadvantage of higher energy cost due to levies like the coal cess, that has gone up by 800% in the last few years; from Rs 50 per tonne of coal in 2010 to Rs 400 in 2016
- Thus, Solar and wind energy can never completely become the energy source for industries (in the near future) that need uninterrupted, reliable, steady and high wattage electricity.